Zvezda La-5 – The Wheels Come Off

Things have gone downhill with the Zvezda since the last post.

Adventures in Repainting

It began with the White Ensign AMT Black. It’s proven a very temperamental paint that either goes down somewhat translucent, or somewhat gritty. Well, I got the somewhat gritty version, so I went to do a wet polishing sand, hoping to remove the grit and maybe the marks left by the silly putty and tape.

The thing is, as you wet sand, you kick up a slurry of water and sanded paint. The AMT black basically just absorbed this slurry. I tried everything and couldn’t get it out. So I ended up going back and repainting the camoflage freehand.

Things came out much better this time. I still had some grittiness in the black, but it was manageable, and besides, I didn’t dare go back and sand!


I moved on to the decals, laying down a coat of Future and applying the AML decals for “Silver 69”. The Solvaset setting solution reacted with the Future and turned white, but that vanishes with the sealing coat so no big deal. Overall the AML decals were a pleasure to work with. Thin, clear, great color register, and they settled down quite well.

After giving the decals a day or so to set, I sprayed the La-5 down with another coat of Future to seal everything. Came back the next morning and found that the decals had silvered. Badly.

Though frustrated, I’d had this happen with my P-51B, and knocked it out by misting the base color over the decal. It has the effect of fading out the markings and completely obscuring any silvering. Well, not this time. Once the AMT-4 green hit the decal, it highlighted the decal film in a lighter shade of green that made it stand out even more.

Additional attempts to fix things – more fading, oil washes, pigments – just made things worse, and the port side of the aircraft is now just a total mess.


Fortunately, I did learn one thing out of all this. An oil wash of transparent white creates an awesome fading/streaking effect on darker camoflage.

Work Continues

I decided to leave the port side alone and focus on the not as awful starboard side. Went on to finish up the underside, attach the tailwheel and the gear doors, and then masked and painted the metal cowl bands with Talon Aluminum. These were then polished with Hawkeye polishing powder and a Dremel.

Overall, I think I’ll still pull a decent looking model out of it – at least from the right side.

Next up – more weathering and final touches.

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